This discussion was held at Ethereal Summit 2020, with The Defiant’s Camila Russo. During the interview, Buterin emphasized Ethereum’s likely role after COVID-19 is finally contained, and the possibility of the influx of users into cryptocurrency.
The most notable financial crisis prior to COVID-19 took place in 2008, which prompted the creation of the first cryptocurrency Bitcoin (BTC). Russo asked Buterin if the present situation of the world will enhance the global adoption of cryptocurrency.
“I think there’s some similarities between 2008 and what we’re going through now. 2008 was entirely a financial crisis. 2020 is not really a financial crisis first and foremost…it’s a virus crisis, and on top of that it’s a political crisis. There are definitely financial elements—there’s a lot of the money printing. But the financial side is definitely not at the heart of the story.”
He was further asked if the current wave of quantitative easing and big tech censorship would make more people delve into cryptocurrency. The co-founder of Ethereum (ETH) concurred that those factors have some influence, but pointed out the financial difference between now and 12 years ago.
“The concerns around censorship, privacy, and institutions are all very real. There definitely has been the older censorship resistance thing going on with Tor, BitTorrent, etc. In 2020 we’re definitely seeing some of the same themes [as in 2008]—but somewhat less financially.”
Russo further made an assumption about a possible decline in the US dollar, a rise of China, and reign of political uncertainty after coronavirus. “Will people seek refuge in cryptocurrency,” she asked Buterin, adding “What is Ethereum’s role in that situation?”
“There’s definitely an element of seeing more and more political discord and distrust between countries over time. And there’s definitely a real role for blockchain to play in helping to be part of the glue that holds all of these countries and currencies together. Ethereum definitely has a role to play in being the glue.”
When asked if he thought Ethereum could be the network that connects all those unrelated elements across the world, Buterin said, “I think so”.